A popular Pinellas principal whose transfer upset parents this summer is moving again — this time to a spot at administration headquarters.
Kevin Hendrick, whom superintendent Julie Janssen transferred from Northeast High to Boca Ciega High, will soon be the district's new director of high school education.
Janssen said Friday she offered Hendrick the position after he told her he was going to accept a job outside the district.
"I said obviously I'd like to keep you in the district," she said. "I believe in growing our talent from the inside."
Hendrick, 34, said personal issues were involved in his decision, but declined to be more specific. He also declined to specify what job offer he was considering, though Janssen said she thought it was tied to an alternative high school in Manatee County.
The Pinellas district job is "sort of a jack-of-all-trades position and I'm really excited about it," Hendrick said.
Supporters of both Northeast and Boca Ciega were stunned.
"Unbelievable," said Northeast parent Midge Silk. "This whole thing could have possibly been avoided" if Janssen had left Hendrick at Northeast.
"No way," said Dan Rothenberger, president of the parent teacher student association at Boca Ciega. "I'm definitely disappointed. I was looking forward to Kevin being the guy."'
Hendrick worked eight years in Pinellas as a teacher before moving to Manatee County to become an assistant principal. He was hired at Northeast in the spring of 2008.
Northeast supporters rallied to keep him after a surprise announcement in June that he was headed to struggling Boca Ciega. Parents and teachers credited him with improving graduation rates and test scores at Northeast, and for moving the school's grade from a D to a C.
Janssen said she moved Hendrick to Boca Ciega because it was in the best interest of the district — and so is moving him to headquarters. "Should I just turn my back on him and say, 'Okay, you want to go to Manatee?' " she said.
Hendrick will take the job being vacated by Rita Vasquez, who will be overseeing district efforts to turn around four high schools (including Boca Ciega) under state oversight this fall.
Janssen said he'll make about $90,000 a year.
Former Osceola Fundamental High principal Carol Moore will take the helm at Boca Ciega until a permanent principal can be found, Janssen said. She said that position will be advertised inside and outside the district.
"I would love to see a little more consistency. I think the kids would too," Rothenberger said. "But you have to take the hand you're dealt."
Ron Matus can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8873.